Oct 13
A Message from the Principal - October 13, 2022

Dear Hillhurst Families,

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.  Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.  Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." 
Henry Van Dyke

I hope that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving, some good food, fresh air and some laughs. As we enter into fall, students and teachers are well into life at school. It is my hope that you find the weekly updates from myself as well as your child's teacher helpful to all that is going on.  I am delighted to have the vibrancy of parents back in the building, and we are grateful for the time and support you are able to give.

Friday, October 7th was a System Professional Learning Day related to Indigenous education for all of our staff, as it was throughout the Calgary Board of Education.  The day was named, 'Maatoomsii Pookaiks', which means 'Children First'. As part of our day, we watched a keynote video from Dr. James Makokis. He taught us all a great deal about Residential Schools and the history of what we now call Canada. This is an important part of the unlearning and learning that is part of Reconciliation.  It is not easy to learn more about the truth of how Indigenous Peoples were treated – however, it is a crucial step in having a better understanding in order to move forward.

As part of our school's Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action, students and teachers have been intentional about going outside and learning, 'on the land'.  Classes have spent time observing the land, identifying sit spots, learning the names of plants, and appreciating the sights and sounds around them. This work has been ongoing and will continue throughout the school year.

We look forward to seeing everyone on November 24th and 25th for Learning Conferences and sharing at that time, all the wonderful work of your children with you.

​ Karen Pope

Principal, Hillhurst School

Jun 20
A Message from the Principal - June 20, 2022

Dear Hillhurst Families,

What a great year we have had!

On behalf of the entire staff at Hillhurst School, I would like to say how incredibly proud we are of every student.  While we began the year under health restrictions, we ended in a much more 'normal' way, with class presentations, field trips, buddy class experiences, fun lunch and playing together at recess.  With every new adventure, came excitement and most importantly, learning.  For our younger learners, they did not really know what they were missing, however for many of our students, they most certainly did.  I want to thank them for their resiliency, patience and understanding through it all. 


I am incredibly optimistic for the 2022-23 school year.  I look forward to vast and rich learning experiences for students. I look forward to volunteers in the building and parents invited to share in student learning, and more importantly, I look forward to becoming the school community we once were.


Please check our website for information about Back-To-School at: https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/hillhurst/registration/register/back-to-school/pages/default.aspx


We look forward to welcoming students back to school on Thursday, September 1st at 8:45am.  The school office will be open starting Monday, August 29th at 8am if you wish to contact us beforehand.


Have a safe and fun-filled summer.

Karen Pope



Sep 01
What a great first morning! - Sept. 1


Good afternoon families,

What a wonderful morning for everyone at Hillhurst School.  How lucky we were that the rain held off so we could welcome students outside and meet with as many parents as we could.  Students quickly settled into their rooms, had tours of the school and made connections with both new and returning classmates. 

Just a friendly reminder that the playground will be off limits before and after school while we follow our system's re-entry procedures.  Students will have opportunities throughout the day to play on the playground with either their teacher or at lunch.  Thank you to parents for adhering to this if you walk with your child to and from school.

The sharing of food is something we also need to be careful not to do, and with that, please do not send in special treats for your child's class as we are not able to hand them out (i.e. Birthday cupcakes).  Alternatively, birthday pencils or something of the like would be fine. 

We ask too, that students not bring toys or stuffed animals from home.  In general, anything that they do not want to go missing, or will end up being more disruptive than calming we kindly ask stay at home.   If students have cell phones, they are to remain in their back packs from 8:45am until 3:20pm.  If you need to get in touch with your child, please do so through the office as your child will not be able to check their phone throughout the day. 

For the remainder of the week, all teachers, Mrs. Hamir and myself will be outside again at 8:30am to meet with you and welcome your child before entering the school at 8:45am.  We've asked teachers to meet their class in the same spot as this morning.

Before the end of the week, most likely tomorrow or Friday, an information package will be sent home with your child that will include many forms that need to be filled out and returned to school.  Thank you for keeping an eye open for that.

I will start my weekly updates this Friday.


Have a great afternoon. 

Karen Pope – Acting Principal 

Hillhurst School  

Jun 29
Hillhurst Communication - June 29

Dear Hillhurst Families,

I am thrilled to announce that I will maintain the Acting Principal position for the start of the 2021-22 school year, and until November 30th.  With that, I am excited to also announce that Mrs. Shafali Hamir will also retain her Acting Assistant Principal position, and for that same timeframe. 


Although unprecedented, what a wonderful year we have had.  Students were TROOPERS and staff were flexible and agile in their professional approach to navigating this year. 

While we wait for system direction, I will say that I look forward to seeing our school community come to life once again; students, staff, and parents, working collaboratively to make Hillhurst the very best it can be.  


Please check our website for information about Back-To-School at:



We look forward to welcoming students back to school on Wednesday, September 1st at 8:45 am.

The school office will be open starting Wednesday, August 25th if you wish to contact us beforehand.


Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Karen Pope

Acting Principal


Sep 04
Hillhurst Communication - Sept. 4

Hello Hillhurst families

Thank you for your support this week as we all adjust to new routines and expectations.  We were so impressed with how your children adapted to the new rules and ways of being at school.  By working together as a community, we help keep everyone safe and healthy.


  • Please return all forms to your child's teacher as soon as possible.  We need to ensure we have any pertinent health information and any changes to demographics as soon as possible.
  • Remember next week we begin soft entry.  This means that doors will be unlocked by 8:30.  Students coming in early must go directly to their classroom, using the door they have been assigned. The warning bell will ring at 8:40 and we will help all remaining students enter the building in a physically distanced fashion following the lines and stickers on the sidewalks.
  • Playground equipment:  Just a reminder that the playground equipment is off limits before and after school.  I know this is another adjustment. We weren't perfect this week, but we will take a supportive, learning approach to help all of us get used to the new rules.
  • Masks – We thank you for your support in helping your child understand the importance of following the rules and expectations. We are working with your children to understand the rules provided to us from Alberta Health Services and the Calgary Board of Education. The kids are doing a great job.
  • School council meeting – September 16 at 6:30pm. This will be a virtual meeting. Details will be sent next Friday.

Thank you and enjoy your long weekend. We will see your children on Tuesday.

Hillhurst Staff​

Jun 29
Student Communication - June 26

Dear Students,


The staff at Hillhurst School is incredibly proud of all of you. As a school community we had many great memories together including field trips, special events, projects and all the regular day to day tasks and activities that make elementary school special. Smile as you reminisce about all these positive experiences. You grew both personally and academically, and we know you will not allow the unexpectedness of the last few months to define your experience this year. You are wiser, more mature and ready for the transition to the next grade. We want to thank all of you for the resilience, versatility and understanding you demonstrated through the disappointments of the last few months. Missing out is never fun, but you persevered.  As adults, we can learn from the collective of our children and how you handled this sudden, drastic change. As Christopher Robin declared, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” As students, you lived this throughout the spring and this makes us very hopeful for the future. The 2019-2020 school year will be one that none of us ever forgets, but it will make us appreciate ‘normal’ more than we ever have. Take care, find the joy in the little things and don’t forget to smile.


See you soon,

Mr. Giffen on behalf of all Hillhurst Staff​

Jun 29
Parent Communications June 26

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Thank you. Upon my arrival in January, I was immediately impressed by your immense support for and dedication to Hillhurst School. I was very delighted to see how many volunteers there were to support both in and out of the school. Programs like grandparent reading and fun lunch among others contribute massively to the vibrancy of this school community. I met many of you before and after school and through your generous volunteerism, and I look forward to meeting the rest of you throughout the next school year. I know that the last few months were hard. I am a parent of two elementary aged children, and so I can relate to the ups and downs that each of us faced as we endeavoured to keep positive and support our children through this most trying time. I know each of you had your own stresses and demands while you also supported your child’s learning, so, again, I thank you. We are most hopeful that we will begin September 1st with kids attending in-school classes. I look forward to seeing you again in person and continuing to learn about the Hillhurst School community. I am excited to be leading Hillhurst through whatever the 2020-2021 school year brings, and I know we can count on you for your continued support.



Chris Giffen, Principal

May 26
Parent Communications and Updates - May 26

Hello all,

We hope you are doing well and enjoying the sunshine when you can.  We are including a number of updates below.  Some of which are new and others a reminder.

Staffing updates

We want to say thank you to Ms. Betty Pond for all the work she did with the music program. Her passion for music was evident everyday.  Betty was covering a leave for Mrs. Louis AuYeung. Mrs. AuYeung is now back at Hillhurst and we want to welcome her back to the team.  We also want to congratulate Mrs. Josephine Cesario, our outstanding admin secretary, for becoming a permanent member of the Hillhurst staff.  Josie has been on a temporary contract, but has now been given the position permanently. Finally, my title of Acting Principal has been changed to Principal.  I am very excited to join the Hillhurst community on a permanent basis and I very much look forward to our continued work together.


The CBE has released information about the budget for 2020-2021 and related information about school fees. Important information for parents can be found on the CBE web site.

An announcement regarding transportation for the 2020- 21 school year was also recently shared. You can find details here: Transportation Fees for 2020-21. Gate families; please click the separate link within the original e-mail with instructions on how to register for transportation.  Please do this by June 14th.  If you have any questions, please phone the school office.

Parent Engagement

Parents are invited to engage in our planning process through a survey that will be sent out in the coming week. Please watch for an invitation to provide input into planning decisions. Further engagement will occur at our next school council meeting set for June 10th and 6:30pm.

When Will We See You Again?

The staff at Hillhurst School have been missing our students and their families. We collectively put together, under the direction of Mrs. Klassen, a video to show our faces and our support to everyone who is part of our learning community. You can view the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV7oPLgiMNg&t=1s  Additionally, staff often decorate the sidewalk in front of the school with chalk messages.  We are missing you all and cannot wait to get back to a normal routine.

We are making plans for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, however, the re-opening of schools is based on recommendations of the government. Re-entry plans have not been finalized. We will communicate any and all information as soon as we have been provided with details.

 Technical Support for Parents

Technical support is now available for students and parents. https://www.cbe.ab.ca/support/Pages/Google-Apps-Gmail.aspx


Ongoing Learning Update

Your child’s teacher is your first point of contact for all questions.  Information, tasks and learning continue to be shared via Google Classroom, and Google Meet sessions continue to be scheduled throughout the week for student learning and to ensure student connection.  Staff are committed to meeting the needs of all students. Should you need help with anything, please contact your child’s teacher.  School administration is also here to help.


This continues to be a stressful time for everyone, and we want to remind you that we are here to help.  Additionally, here are some resources for you or anyone who may need support. https://cbe.ab.ca/about-us/school-culture-and-environment/health-and-wellness-in-school/Pages/Positive-Mental-Health.aspx

School Access

We are aware that arrangements will need to be made for students to retrieve any remaining items from the school. We will put a plan in place for students to retrieve their items before the end of June. A plan will be communicated classroom by classroom and follow social distancing protocols. In the meantime, all student belongings are secure. Should you urgently need an item, please call or e-mail the office and we can make a plan to help.

Planning for 2020-21

All CBE schools are in the process of organizing for the next school year. This involves school budgets, staffing and class configuration, transportation and timetabling, and other organizational considerations. We will share information about this work through these weekly updates.

Thank you for your continued support.

Wishing you all the best,

Chris Giffen, Principal




May 26
Bell Schedule Changes - 2020-2021 School Year

To: Parents/Guardians 

From: Chris Giffen
Subject: 2020-2021 School Bell Times 


Dear Parents/Guardians, 

As communicated on May 15, the CBE is making adjustments to the start (entry) and end (dismissal) times of the school day at some CBE schools for the 2020-21 school year. We are making these plans for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, however, the re-opening of schools is based on recommendations of the governmentRe-entry plans have not been finalized. 

For the 2020-21 school year, our school hours will be:

Grades 1 - 6 

Monday – Friday ENTRY TIME: Soft entry

·                     Door open 8:35 (students may come in early)

·                     Warning bell 8:40 (all students enter)

·                     School begins 8:45 (instruction begins)

Monday – Thursday DISMISSAL TIME: 3:20 



Kindergarten A.M.  

Monday – Friday ENTRY TIME

·         8:40 (Teacher brings students inside)

·         School begins 8:45 (instruction begins)

Monday – Thursday DISMISSAL TIME 11:25



The only change to instructional hours is the 12:45 dismissal on Fridays. School start time will remain 8:45. However, we are making changes to our entry plan to ensure students can enter more calmly and begin learning promptly at 8:45.  Therefore, school doors will be unlocked at 8:35 and the bell will ring at 8:40 signalling Grade 1 -6 students to come inside.  Kindergarten students will be brought into the school by their teacher at 8:40. The final bell will ring at 8:45 meaning students should be seated in their classroom. Supervision will continue to be offered outside from 8:30 – 8:40. As well, staff will be supervising inside beginning at 8:35. Bussed students will arrive to school in time to enter at 8:40 and begin their learning at 8:45.


Lunch and Recess

Since re-entry plans have not been finalized by the province, we are planning for next year with flexibility in mind. For the beginning of the year, we are planning to offer recess through a floating model.  Meaning that each class will have a 15 minute recess sometime throughout the day.  Timing will be determined based on a number of factors such as when they have physical education class, the weather, when other classes are going outside etc.  We are beginning the year with this model for two main reasons. The first reason is that it allows for maximum scheduling efficiency throughout the day thus ensuring all classes will be able to attend daily physical education class as a single class. This is important considering the size of our gym. The second reason is that it allows for the flow of teacher instruction and student engagement in tasks to determine the most appropriate time to take a break. We are also planning to make an adjustment to lunch by being prepared to begin the year with staggered lunch times. This means that half of the school eats while the other half has recess and then half way through the lunch period, the two groups switch. Our lunchbreak will run this way because it allows us to be the most efficient in how we designate staff to supervise. It also allows for greater movement and use of playground equipment when students are outside.  Groupings have yet to be determined; however, the number of students will be balanced, and set according to number of staff. As with any type of change, there are positives and negatives.  We will continually evaluate these changes to ensure they are best serving our students and be prepared with changes if needed.  

School hours continue to be aligned at all schools that use transportation services to optimize transportation services. These changes are one part of the CBE’s efforts to develop equitable, sustainable, and coherent transportation service for all CBE students. 


We know that these changes could have an impact on families. By informing you before the end of this school year, we hope you are able to make the necessary adjustments to your routines and make any required childcare arrangements before the start of the 2020-21 school year. I’d like to thank you for your patience and support. We look forward to a great year in learning together next year! 


Thank you, 


Chris Giffen  


Mar 30
Hillhurst Updates - March 30

Hillhurst School 


Good Morning Hillhurst families.

We hope you are doing well and keeping your spirits up. Staff at Hillhurst have had time during their spring break to let all the changes in our world sink in and have begun to eagerly plan and explore ideas for on-line learning. There will be adjustments as we transition to an on-line learning environment, but please know we are here to support you and your child as best we can. These are still our students. Hillhurst is still their school. Also know that we understand that each of our families have been impacted by this pandemic, and that it won’t always be easy to support your children in their learning at home.  We do not expect parents to deliver the same learning that students receive at school, but to do whatever they can to encourage and support learning for their children.  Please know that many staff members also have school aged children at home and spouses that are having to work, either from home or at their work place, so we absolutely understand these challenges.  Also, know that the on-line learning plan will evolve over time.  We ask for your patience as we continue to receive guidelines and expectations from the Calgary Board of Education. Beginning today, teachers will connect with students and their families to see how you are and to ask a few questions which will help to guide our next steps in the online learning approach. Some staff may contact you using their personal devices.  We ask that you please not use this number to contact staff, but instead contact them via e-mail. We will use the information gleaned from families to inform our next step.  The on-line learning environment will begin to take shape as the week progresses.  We ask for your understanding as we try to meet the varied needs of our families.  In a stressful time such as this we will be working hard to not overwhelm families with too much and to be flexible to the needs of everyone, all while adhering to Alberta Education’s guidelines guidelines to direct student learning .  For those families wanting to supplement the work you receive from your child’s teacher you can also access the Learning at Home webpage, which offers a variety of educational ideas to support literacy, numeracy and wellness. We are here for your children.  Our commitment to their learning will not waver – it will just look different.  Please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail at CJGiffen@cbe.ab.ca or at the school. I am here to help.


Thank you,

Chris Giffen, Acting Principal

Hillhurst School


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Karen Pope, Principal

​Shafali Hamir, Assistant Principal